PEASANT farmers in Kasama Central’s Bululu ward have accused United Party for National Development (UPND) vice-president for administration Geoffrey Mwamba of compelling them to sell maize to him at K50 per 50kg bag.
The farmers told the Zambia Daily Mail at Petamina satellite depot in Bululu ward that they sold their maize to Mr Mwamba at K50 per 50kg bag because they were in a desperate situation.
One of the farmers, Mulenga Chishimba, said he regretted selling his maize to Mr Mwamba following President Lungu’s directive to the Food Reserve Agency (FRA) to increase the purchase price of maize from K70 to K75 per 50kg bag.
“We are the ones at a loss because we were made to sell the maize cheaply,” Mr Chishimba said.
Another farmer, Edrick Kasapo, said he is not happy that despite Mr Mwamba buying the maize at such a low price, he had allegedly not yet paid them.
And Patrick Chishimba said he would not manage to buy farm inputs for the next farming season because he sold his produce at a loss.
“They told us that Government has no money to buy our maize and that we should sell it to them at K50 for a 50kg bag,” he said.
And Bernard Mukantemwa, the transporter and coordinator for the farmers at Petamina satellite depot, said over 80 people have allegedly not yet been paid for the maize supplied to Mr Mwamba.
But Mr Mwamba dismissed the allegations as a fabrication because he has not yet started buying maize.
“Go to Bululu in Kasama and find out if I have bought any maize there,” he said.
Mr Mwamba claimed that his weight is being felt in Kasama.
But PF member Father Frank Bwalya said that small-scale farmers are allegedly being compelled to sell the maize to Mr Mwamba at K50 as they are made to believe that Government would not buy the maize.
“I came from Kasama and I can confirm that GBM is buying maize at K50 per 50kg bag,” Fr Bwalya charged in an interview yesterday.
He charged that Mr Mwamba had been buying maize at K50 per 50kg bag from farmers even before the FRA announced the purchase price of K70.
“I was even forced to go on radio to help people from being exploited,” he said.
Fr Bwalya said PF is against exploitation of the poor.
He also urged farmers in Kasama and other parts of the country to sell their maize to FRA or any other buyers offering a good price.